conceptual illustration of cancer cells

February 8th 2019

This relatively new approach to the treatment of cancer makes use of the body’s immune system to destroy cancer cells. There are four main mechanisms used for immunotherapy treatments:
Boosting the immune system. Making use of antibodies that attach to cancer cell surface proteins. Drugs are called monoclonal antibodies and…

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Field of poppies

February 8th 2019

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society set up a Medicines Safety Debate entitled ‘Lessons from Gosport’ in December 2018 to share learning from the Inquiry. It brought together key people responsible for the safe and appropriate use of opioids. The panel comprised the Head of Medicines Optimisation at the CQC, a national…

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Conceptual illustration of a bladder

February 8th 2019

This NICE guideline was published in October 2018 and although it is not aimed at palliative care patients it is worth noting that the use of nitrofurantoin MR 100mg BD is now regarded as preferable to trimethoprim as first line treatment. Trimethoprim resistance is more likely when used in the…

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February 8th 2019

The SPC for tapentadol has been revised to include the additional warning that concomitant use of other sedating medicinal products may result in sedation, respiratory depression, coma and death. Prescribers are advised to consider reducing the dose of one or both agents, if tapentadol is required in addition to one…

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February 8th 2019

A new document from the UK Medicine Information Service alerts us to the fact that THC and cannabidiol act as enzyme inhibitors at the CYP2C and CYP3A4 isoenzymes. Although cannabinoids are unlikely to be prescribed widely, prescribers and healthcare professionals should be aware that this action may potentiate the effects…

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February 8th 2019

In 194 head-to-head RCTs, agomelatine, amitriptyline, escitalopram, mirtazapine, paroxetine, venlafaxine and vortioxetine were more effective than other antidepressants, whereas fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, reboxetine, and trazodone were the least effective. Agomelatine, citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, sertraline and vortioxetine were better tolerated than others. Amitriptyline, clomipramine, duloxetine, fluvoxamine, reboxetine, trazodone and venlafaxine were associated…

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November 28th 2018

Psychiatrists with an interest in end-of-life care have reviewed the evidence for the management of depression in cancer patients, as it has a great impact. Their conclusions, as usual, were that more RCTs are required as the available studies were very few and of low quality. The review found very…

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November 28th 2018

Tramadol: The SPC for all brands and products containing tramadol contains information on dependence and treatment discontinuation. Tramadol has partial opioid activity and thus is prone to abuse if used inappropriately. This warning advises using it for the shortest time required for management of pain, then weaning it gradually. We…

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Field of poppies

November 28th 2018

On 30th June 2018 the Gosport Independent Panel published its report on what happened at Gosport Memorial Hospital between 1987 and 2001(1). As Jeremy Hunt said, its findings can only be described as truly shocking. The Panel found that during this period the lives of over 450 patients were shortened…

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